IGCSE First Language English Question 2 is challenging. This is my answer for the passage from 0500/21 October/November 2012, Paper 2 Reading Passages (Extended). (The Passages and the Questions are here)
‘Greeted us’ is a phrase that is used very well to convey the writer’s musing on arrival. It indicates her belief that the scenery welcomed and invited the travelers to enjoy the beauty. ‘Majestic, ancient and wise giant’ and ‘lording it over space and time’ puts us in reverence of Pico Bolivar and the ravine, which combined with ‘minute specks on the landscape’ gives the setting a sense of massiveness. ‘Almost touch’ introduces us to the nearness of the writer and Pico Bolivar as what separates them is merely empty space. The writer has achieved vivid picturisation through ‘tiny, meandering river’ complemented by ‘moving silver thread’ and ‘dark fabric’. She has used an alliance of words and analogy as striking imagery to describe the view aptly.
‘Steep, snaking climbs’ induces fear in the readers’ minds and they sympathise with the trekkers. ‘Stretch to infinity’ displays the writer’s anxiety well and attributes homogeneity and unchangingness to the path. ‘Vulnerable’ to the ‘whims of the elements’ causes the reader to dread the fate of the trekkers as it uses an excellent personisation of the elements willing to hurt. By writing ‘obstacle course across an ice rink’, the writer is making an attempt at humour and guiding the readers to imagine the walk. ‘Luxury of a grassy cushion’ expresses the need of the trekkers and the trouble they were in. It conveys their suffering as what might be ordinary grass to others is a divine boon to them. ‘Stern sky’ employs alliteration along with attribution of cruelty and apprehension.
- Saloni S. Kamat